I must admit, yesterday when I previewed the Viaje WLP (White Label Project – St. Patrick’s Day) Candela,  I had no intention on providing a review 24 hours later.   However, there were three factors that made me change my mind:  1) I needed a smoke that wasn’t too strong and a  candela wrapper cigar provided the perfect opportunity;  2) Two of my good buddies were also going to fire up their Viaje WLP St. Patrick’s Day Candela – so I felt obligated to do;  3) The sheer curiosity factor was too much to resist.    Ultimately I must admit I am not a candela wrapper fan as these cigars typically do not provide enough bite for my liking.   Well, Andre Farkas and the folks at Viaje have proved me wrong once again – providing what I think might be the best candela I ever had. (Before you rip me on that comment – I have not sampled the Illusione HL Candela, but I know a lot of people have raved about it)

First this might be a rehash from yesterday’s post, but I’ll include some background on Viaje and the WLP Candela for completeness.   Viaje recently rose above many “indie” cigar makers by getting Cigar Aficionado’s #2 Cigar for 2010.  However Viaje has already been long distinguishing themselves from their competition.    Viaje has been employing a “micro batch” process for many of its cigar releases.  Namely, it is producing the majority of its boxes in small batches (i.e. under 500 boxes) for a release.   Once the batches are gone, so is the cigar – although the cigar has been known to make a comeback in a new vitola.  The other thing is that the cigars are very good.  The majority of these micro-batch releases have been memorable smokes.   This micro-batch release is the vision of company head Andre Farkas.  There are some fans of this concept and there are some detractors.  The WLP Candela is part one of these micro-batch releases.

Now for some information on the composition of this cigar.  Of course this cigar utilizes a candela wrapper and as far as I know this is Viaje’s first foray using a candela wrapper.    As always with Farkas and Viaje, they keep pretty tight-lipped on the blend.  The concept behind the Candela was to coincide with St. Patrick’s Day, thus the timing of the release in March.

Wrapper: Candela
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan

Currently the Viaje WLP Candela is available in one size – a 5 x 50 Robusto.   Many retailers have received limited supplies and some are limiting the amount to be purchased.  This leaves room in the future for Viaje to release other vitolas.

For this cigar experience, I opted for a straight cut into the candela wrapper, toasted the foot and prepared for what was going to be an interesting cigar experience.

The initial flavor profile was pretty interesting.   I got a decent serving of black pepper combined with some mild cedar and wood.   The pepper didn’t last too long as it diminished rather quickly.  Around 15% into the smoke, notes of citrus and cream began to join the cedar, wood, and pepper.   it didn’t take long for the citrus and cream to move center stage as the dominant flavor note.    As the cigar approached the 1/3 mark, it would be the cream that took over.

The middle third of the cigar had a interesting change – the notes began to take on a flavor of chestnuts.   The chestnut notes soon enough took on the dominant note.   It didn’t take long for the cream notes to re-emerge.  As the cigar approached the end of the cigar, some of the initial pepper spice did make a return.   The finish was soft and cool.  I smoked this Robusto pretty slow, yet I did not get a harsh finish.

The draw was excellent.   I was particularly surprised by how good the burn was – given this was a cigar just shipped.  It required a couple of touch-ups, but nothing major.   The cigar also did not burn hot whatsoever.  The only complaint is that my ash was pretty loose and flaky.

Given this is a candela wrapper – which has a reputation for being mild, there were no surprises that this was a mild cigar.   Typically candela cigars are on the mild side in terms of body, but for the case of this Viaje – it was a solid medium.

Normally, I need to be in the mood for a cigar with a low kick in strength.   I would say, this is still the case if I am to reach for another Viaje WLP St. Patrick’s Day Candela.   In any case, while a candela would not be in my regular rotation to smoke, if I were to reach for one – this would be it.  If you are looking for a candela – this would a stone-cold lock as a great one.  While I haven’t smoked an abundance of candelas, as I stated up front, this is the best candela I’ve had – and it’s a pretty special one at that.   It has earned a “Memorable” assessment.

Burn: Good
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Mild
Body: Medium
Assessment: Memorable